London (1 July 2016) – Jon Zehner, global head of the client capital group for LaSalle Investment Management, has been named the new chairman of ULI Europe. Zehner, a long-standing member and Trustee of ULI, will serve on a voluntary basis for a two-year term that will end on 30 June 2018.
Zehner brings extensive experience within ULI to the role. A member for almost 30 years, Zehner has served as a Trustee since 2000 and has held positions on the ULI Board of Directors, the ULI Europe Executive Committee, and the European Steering Committee. Zehner is also a member of ULI’s European Retail and Entertainment Product Council and the Global Exchange Council.
“ULI Europe is in a very strong position thanks to the leadership and guidance provided by Roger Orf over the past three years,” said Zehner. “I would like to thank Roger on behalf of all of ULI’s members for all of the time and hard work he has put into strengthening the organization. He has left behind a solid platform from which we can further grow and develop the institute.”
During his term, Zehner will focus on three areas: enhancing ULI’s reputation as a real estate thought leader on key issues such as density, sustainability and diversity, broadening ULI’s membership, and increasing opportunities for members to engage.
ULI’s membership in Europe has grown strongly in recent years to over 2,700 members based in 27 different countries. As well as continuing to grow the organisation’s membership, Zehner hopes to broaden ULI’s appeal to attract members from different countries, sectors and backgrounds.
“We want to continue to grow the ULI network across Europe, but this is not just about increasing the total number of our members,” said Zehner. “We want to ensure our membership grows across all disciplines of real estate and encourage greater engagement with the designers, developers and institutional investors of real estate and the public sector. We have strong membership levels in core real estate markets such as the UK, Germany and France, but we also want to ensure a greater geographical balance of membership by encouraging growth in other countries such as Ireland, Poland and Belgium.”
According to Zehner, attracting a diverse range of members is crucial to enhancing ULI’s standing as a thought leader in Europe. “The goal for ULI, is the same as the goal for the industry as a whole – to be more reflective of society,” said Zehner. “If we can encourage more women and people from different social and ethnic backgrounds within the real estate sector to join and engage with ULI, then they will in turn act as role models for younger people looking to join the industry.”
“We already have a number of programmes that look to encourage younger people from different backgrounds to become interested in real estate. Our UrbanPlan programme in the UK takes the challenges and opportunities provided by the built environment into our schools and will showcase the sector to many pupils who may not have thought about a career in property otherwise. The programme is proving successful and now we plan to expand it across Europe,” said Zehner.
Another area Zehner will focus on is increasing member engagement. “Exchanging ideas and experiences with other real estate professionals around the world has been one of the richest and most valuable experiences I have had as a ULI member. Therefore, I want to increase the opportunities our members have to interact and engage with each other. To achieve this, we will continue with our efforts to increase the number of events at a National Council level, re-shape and energise our Product Councils and support new forums such as ULI NEXT, which is aimed at professionals in the middle stages of their career.”
“One of the consequences of broadening our membership base and encouraging further interaction between our members will be to generate a greater flow of ideas that will provide fresh insights into a wide range of issues. We will channel these ideas into the relevant, practical advice and case studies, for which ULI has become renowned. Our research will continue to focus on the overarching topic of density, under which we will examine a wide array of issues including sustainability, technology and innovation.”
“In these volatile and rapidly-changing times, it is more important than ever that we provide thought leadership not only our members, but to the industry as a whole,” said Zehner. “With our broad focus and global presence, we are well positioned to shape the discourse around the key issues that affect our cities.”
Zehner will work closely with ULI Europe’s staff team, led by ULI Europe’s chief executive Lisette van Doorn, to deliver his priorities. “Jon’s long-standing experience, impressive network, decades of service to ULI, and commitment to our mission, make him the perfect choice to be our next chairman,” said van Doorn. “We are looking forward to working closely with Jon to take ULI to the next stage of its development in Europe and further enhance benefits to our members.”
Zehner graduated with an AB in Economics from Dartmouth and an MBA from Harvard. He began his career in real estate at JP Morgan, where he worked for 28 years and held a number of senior positions, including Global Head of Real Estate Investment Banking and Head of Sub-Saharan Africa. Zehner subsequently served as Senior Director at AREA Property Partners, where he was responsible for client relationships, deal origination and strategic development.
In 2012, Zehner joined LaSalle Investment Management, where he now oversees the firm’s global activities relating to clients raising capital, product development, and marketing and communications.
About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute is a non-profit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the institute has more than 38,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines. For more information, please visit europe.uli.org, follow us on Twitter, or join our LinkedIn group.